Sonoma IndyCar: Will Power finally wins again in contentious race
|By Mark Glendenning||Monday, August 26th 2013, 00:08 GMT|
Will Power ended a 16-month winless streak with his victory in a controversial IndyCar race at Sonoma.
The Penske driver crossed the line 1.1 seconds ahead of Justin Wilson.
But most talk afterwards was of the pitlane collision between Scott Dixon and three members of Power's pit crew that resulted in a penalty for the New Zealander, relegating him to 15th on an afternoon that he'd otherwise controlled.
The incident happened when Dixon was exiting his pit box and clipped a tyre being carried by Power's right-rear tyre changer, skittling he and two other crew members.
None were hurt, and there were wildly differing opinions regarding whether Dixon had any opportunity to avoid the Penske personnel. But race control decided against the Ganassi driver, summoning him in for a penalty that initially dropped him to 21st.
Up to that point Dixon had been the dominant driver of the afternoon, and his exit proved to be a boon for his two closest title rivals in Helio Castroneves and Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Both men had stood to lose a huge pile of points to the Kiwi, and instead came out of the weekend having extended their advantage.
Power kept himself in the hunt with the help of some aggressive restarts - one perhaps too aggressive in the view of Dario Franchitti - but Wilson took a very different route to second place.
The Brit had gone against the grain by starting on the black tyres, and then had his pit strategy thrown into disarray when he was turned around early on and stopped out of sequence.
But the combination of late-race cautions, a good car from Dale Coyne Racing and, during a couple of key points, better tyres than the guys around him allowed him to work himself back into contention.
It was a more frustrating afternoon for Franchitti, who had led early on but then made a mistake and conceded a spot to Dixon.
The Scot admitted later that he would have fought harder had it been anyone other than his team-mate trying to pass him.
Later, he was forced onto the grass by Power on a restart, a move that he felt should have earned the Australian a penalty.
A Sonoma record of seven cautions punctuated the afternoon, although Sebastian Saavedra was the only driver to exit the race as the result of contact. The Colombian hit the barrier at Turn 9 after being tagged by James Davison.
Debutant Lucas Luhr's day in the second Sarah Fisher entry was cut short by a late mechanical problem.
Results - 85 laps: Pos Driver Team/Engine Time/Gap 1. Will Power Penske/Chevy 2h20m46.8226s 2. Justin Wilson Coyne/Honda +1.1930s 3. Dario Franchitti Ganassi/Honda +3.4036s 4. Marco Andretti Andretti/Chevy +4.1266s 5. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt/Honda +4.7042s 6. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti/Chevy +5.1074s 7. Helio Castroneves Penske/Chevy +8.5383s 8. James Hinchcliffe Andretti/Chevy +9.0231s 9. Simon de Silvestro KV/Chevy +9.2858s 10. Sebastien Bourdais Dragon/Chevy +11.2082s 11. Graham Rahal Rahal/Honda +12.0359s 12. Tristan Vautier Schmidt/Honda +15.1056s 13. Tony Kanaan KV/Chevy +17.7606s 14. EJ Viso Andretti/Chevy +18.5207s 15. Scott Dixon Ganassi/Honda +20.2165s 16. JR Hildebrand Herta/Honda +20.7611s 17. Ryan Briscoe Panther/Chevy +29.4788s 18. James Davison Coyne/Honda +43.7768s 19. Ed Carpenter Carpenter/Chevy +1 lap 20. Charlie Kimball Ganassi/Honda +2 laps Retirements: Sebastian Saavedra Dragon/Chevy 81 laps Lucas Luhr Fisher/Honda 81 laps Takuma Sato Foyt/Honda 67 laps Josef Newgarden Fisher/Honda 56 laps James Jakes Rahal/Honda 28 laps All drivers use Dallara DW12 chassis